A person confronted with only negative alternatives will choose none of them. That is, a negative alternative is one that the individual will avoid if he can, and only if he is forced will he take one. Thus the character of a negative choice is that one alternative is taken because any other alternative is something worse.
It is, of course, assumed here that there must be some constraints or barriers against the subject's leaving the field, that is, some third factor must presumably focus the choice. Such "third factors" usually have to do with the general constraints of the experimental or institutional environment within which the test is being made. For the moment, however, we need only recognize the existence of such barriers that keep the subject fixed on a choice between the negative alternatives. In Chapter 11 we shall discuss the significance of such variations in the general constraining situation within the context of the effects of volition on dissonance arousal.
The studies concerning negative choice will not be divided under subheadings, for there are fewer studies than subheadings. We shall simply describe the relevant evidence and summarize the findings in terms of the classificatory scheme.